Friday, September 28, 2012

Christianity and Suffering

In An Attempt to Explain Christianity to Atheists In a Manner That Might Not Freak Them Out, Marc explains Christianity as a response to the problem of suffering. According to Marc, it is impossible to talk about the "purpose of suffering" without appealing to the supernatural. Marc's Christian explanation is that suffering is the result of "sin", but he defines sin in an unusual manner: the word "sin" derives from the Hebrew word "chattah" (or "chatta") that he translates as "missing the mark"; Marc claims, "We live in a world that 'misses the mark' of perfection." God, however, is perfect; He does not miss the mark: "God must be the standard of Perfection from which all things derive their relative goodness." Because we cannot look to "secularism" (i.e. naturalism), we must look to a God that is necessarily a standard of perfection.

But God as a "standard of perfection" does not imply Christianity. Christianity is, at its core the "bizarre" (yes, Marc himself uses that word) notion that God/Jesus "became sin", became absolutely imperfect, and then by dying, destroyed sin, destroyed imperfection. But God, being outside of time, did not destroy sin in the time-bound world; the world where sin, and therefore suffering, must be outside time. God does not wish to force us to this world without suffering, but by instantiating Himself in the person of Jesus into the time-bound material world gives us the option to enter the world without suffering after death. Marc spins an interesting story, but it problems, both internal and external, render it entirely unconvincing to the atheist.

Some of the internal problems are apparent in Marc's responses to objections to his points. The most obvious is his treatment to the objection that if
God is the fullness of perfection, and that to say that our universe is sinful — or imperfect — is to say that our universe is lacking total union with God, why then, would Perfection allow our imperfection? If God is all-powerful, surely he could forever stop us from sinning, and thus from ever suffering? Is he so cruel as to allow us to suffer, children to die, etc.?
Marc answers with the free-will cliche:
We are allowed to sin — and thus to suffer — because God loves us. If we could not refuse him, the fullness of perfection, we would be puppets attached to his celestial fingers. We could not not love God. But love, to be love, must be freely given. Perfection is meaningless if we have not the choice of imperfection. We are granted, in love, the opportunity to sin.
This response must be counted at best as controversial, rather than as decisive. Furthermore, Marc sets up his answer a little tendentiously, reverting to a more superficial definition of suffering as simple pain, physical or emotional; He "allows us to suffer" and allows "children to die." But the objection is not why God created pain, but how a perfect God could create an imperfect world. To create is to resolve an imperfection: how could a perfect being create anything? Marc's answer is entirely unsatisfying.

This crucial flaw notwithstanding, Marc does not give us any reason to actually believe his story. He gives us a version of the Politician's Fallacy: we need an answer to the problem of suffering, this is an answer to the problem, therefore this is the correct answer to the problem. But why should we believe his answer? Even if we must need to look to supernatural teleological, why should Marc's "bizarre" and paradoxical story be the correct one? According to the title, Marc wants to explain Christianity to atheists, but succeeds only in describing an especially weird, counter-intuitive, narrative that we cannot distinguish from pure fiction. We atheists are made of sterner stuff, he won't freak us out, but he fails to explain Christianity in a way that makes us see it as anything but fiction.

This indistinguishable-from-fictional narrative also appears on a specifically Catholic blog. Marc makes no effort to connect this narrative with Catholicism. How do we get popes and priests from an imperfect world. Remember, atheists are not really concerned with the metaphysical issues about God; those have been largely settled... in our favor. Instead, we are mainly concerned with religious justifications of worldly authority. Nothing in Marc's essay connects with any church, much less the Catholic church.

Finally, Marc's basic premise, that religion starts out from the necessity of finding the "purpose of suffering" is tendentious and objectionable. First, Marc is assuming his premise: if we must find purpose, we must, by definition, be looking for a teleological cause, the cause in a conscious mind. Since at least some suffering does not come from human minds, there must be at least a non-human teleology underlying suffering. Marc simply assumes that anyone who has experienced pain will look to a teleological cause: "(If you don’t believe [suffering needs an answer], develop leukemia, have a close family member die, and then try being content with not having any answers, meaning, or purpose." But of course, many atheists have experienced pain and loss, and whatever discontent we might feel, many do not see the lack of teleological meaning or purpose relevant. We have an answer: In a natural, indifferent, world of only physical law, shit really does just happen. If that's an answer Marc doesn't like, well, when did our opinions about the truth matter as to its truthfulness. If you fall off a cliff, you may not like it that your body accelerates towards the center of the Earth at ~10m/s2, but you'll go splat at the bottom nonetheless. I don't need to find any purpose to suffering, so Marc's argument is a non-starter.

When someone makes their infantile fiction my business, I will call it just that: an infantile fiction to comfort themselves in a largely hostile material universe entirely indifferent to human happiness. But it really isn't any of my business; what do I care what story you need to tell yourself to get up in the morning? Why do you need my validation or approval? Especially when I'm just not going to give it to you, regardless of the effort you've put in to make it appear logically consistent. What I am concerned about is religious people's demands for political, economic, and social privilege. If you're not at least trying to justify your privilege, I'm just not interested.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Boudry on Plantinga

I rag on philosophers often as being obscurantists, nit-pickers, and lovers of gratuitous complexity. But sometimes there are exceptions. I have some expertise in English composition as well as both general and religious philosophy, and Maarten Boudry's review of Alvin Plantinga's book, Where the Conflict Really Lies. Science, Religion and Naturalism, is a masterpiece of philosophy and perfect compositional technique. The review appears in the International History, Philosophy and Science Teaching Group Newsletter, September/October 2012starting on page 21 [linkrot fixed]. (via Larry Moran)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


theObserver has some thoughts on innovation. Lightly edited for typographical style.

Innovate. I hate that word. We even have to innovate the grammar we use to talk about innovation (mostly to hide the fact we don't actually have any new ideas).

But consider software. Usually software does not need much start-up capital, so we find a large amount of hobby groups collaborating over the internet and producing decent software under the open software model simply because they enjoy it. Or game modders who produce new content for games just for recognition in their virtual community. Or illegal file shares going to huge trouble to pirate or hack games.

Indeed, during the early days of the information revolution, software was given away free because of the culture during the late 60's and 70's. The guys who invented the spreadsheet gave it away free until Bill Gates swiped it and made billions.

So I don't think the financial carrot is necessary to motivate people to innovate or invent or create. Most writers write because they want to; most painters paint without any expectation of financial rewards. In some cases when financial rewards are offered (commissions, book advances etc), the work actually suffers because of deadlines and pressure.

Even the supermen in the Ayn Rand books don't work purely for financial profit, but because they are exceptional and cannot help themselves. Profit is their just reward, not the motivation. In Atlas Shrugged her revolutionary capitalists were portrayed as making great personal sacrifices by striking and leaving their work.

I think Marx wanted to free people from unnecessary economic labor so they could innovate and self-actualize. I've long considered most corporations parasites because they try to leech every bit of creativity possible from their staff to increase their profits. This leaves staff exhausted or even worse - content ! - at the end of their working day, fit only for the couch, their dreams put off until tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"Communism" and "socialism"

Yesterday, a friend asked, "isn't socialism just a moderate form of communism?" This question brings up two issues.

The first is that the argument from moderation is a bit lazy. It is true that a lot of times, moderation is better than extremism. But it's not always true. Barry Goldwater was kind of an asshole, and but I think he was right when he said that (to paraphrase a little) extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. If we accept the political equality of democracy as one extreme, and the absolute tyranny of a single individual as the other extreme, is the moderation of of submission to an oligarchy therefore superior? If slavery is one extreme, and liberty another, where's the moderate position? A little slavery? Just that "X is moderate relative to Y and Z" is not by itself a sufficient argument for X.

The second issue is that the history of the distinction between "socialism" and "communism" is complicated. We can divide the ideological history of modern communism and socialism broadly into four periods:
  1. Utopian socialism (pre-Marx)
  2. Marxian communism
  3. Early revolutionary communism (pre-1917)
  4. Communism of the parties

Marx and Engels both criticized utopian socialism. One important difference between utopian socialism and Marxian communism is that the former typically is philosophically idealistic (the material realization of an independently-existing ideal form) and the latter is materialistic (development by the interaction of fully physical elements). Engels draws the distinction at length in Socialism, Utopian and Scientific, 1892.

In Marx and Engels, or at least the translations I've read, socialism is either identically synonymous with communism, or socialism refers to an "early" stage of communism, when we still have to have social institutions to manage production; communism refers to a later stage, when the means of production have become sufficiently advanced that people can just work at whatever pleases them, without having to worry about the social utility of their labor. Lenin usually follows the latter distinction.

In the early revolutionary phase, when actual communists were trying to gain state power, a sharp distinction developed: between communists and "democratic socialists." The fundamental character of the latter was a desire to preserve and work within the bourgeois representative "democratic" (i.e. republican) system. Marx touches on the distinction in Critique of the Gotha Programme, but Lenin has the most thorough treatment in What is to Be Done? and The State and Revolution.

Finally, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Chinese Communist Party came to define (or legitimatize the de facto definition) of communism as rule by the meritocratic national Communist Party, hence the modern term "Communism of the Parties."

The distinction between communism and socialism is therefore kind of equivocal. If you look at the distinction drawn in the revolutionary phase, "socialism" means the preservation of representative democracy, and "communism" means the rejection of representative republicanism as fundamentally bourgeois, in favor of some other unspecified system. On the other hand, one might use a distinction based on Communism of the Parties, where "communism" means rule by the national Communist Party, and "socialism" means rejection of party rule in favor of some other alternative.

I personally reject both bourgeois republicanism and meritocratic rule of the Party, in favor more directly and thoroughly democratic political systems, such as the systems briefly implemented by the Paris Commune, of which Marx wrote approvingly in The Civil War in France. If people want to call themselves "socialists," and they mean a rejection of both rule of the party and bourgeois republicanism, then I'll call them comrades without quibbling over labels.

Communism and innovation

Commenter Vince asks: "Why would you invest in innovation in an ideal market, since anyone can copy your innovation (perfect information) and you would not profit from working out your ideas."

Why indeed? Why did Einstein develop the theory of Relativity or Feynman the theory of Quantum Electrodynamics? If it was to get stinkin' rich and be able to exploit the labor of others, they failed miserably.

Why do most employees of companies, not the shareholders and senior executives, actually create the innovations that make the shareholders and executives rich?

Why indeed does anyone but the tiny percentage of those in the capitalist ruling class do anything at all except mindlessly follow the orders of their lords and masters?

People are motivated by all sorts of things, and economic advantage is only one of those motivations. Economic advantage is a powerful motivation, and I don't think, as perhaps some other communists might think, that it needs to be completely eliminated, but neither should we assume it's the only, or even the most important, human motivation.

People will innovate because they want to become famous, because they themselves want to actualize that innovation, or just because innovation is wicked cool: many people have an incredible feeling when they create something new, even if it's something they themselves will never use.

Economic motivation works best, I think, to move people to capture the producer surplus or avoid a producer deficit. If, perhaps, there are more people whose "first choice" is to become a philosopher than there is a social need for philosophers, we want to convince the least efficient philosophers to give up their first choice for their second (or third, etc.) choice when the alternative has more social utility. We also want to convince at least some people who would be really efficient philosophers to become philosophers, even if their first choice isn't philosophy. Since the most efficient producers of any commodity gain an small but persistent economic advantage relative to the socially necessary abstract labor time of a commodity, economic advantage can serve as a motivation here.

Monday, September 10, 2012

If this (doesn't go) on...

What happens if the underlying root of capitalism, managing the scarcity of surplus labor, goes away?

Four Futures

(h/t to my new friend Stella)

Saturday, September 08, 2012


I initially greeted the concept of Atheism+ with superficial indifference. I'm not at all a joiner, so identifying with Atheism+ didn't really interest me. But it didn't annoy or irritate me either. If a bunch of atheists want to get together to promote some specific topics or ideas — general humanism, feminism, anti-pseudoscience, or model trains — well, good for them. And even if a bunch of atheists want to get together to promote ideas I really dislike, such as atheist Libertarians, then I might criticize those ideas, but the notion that organizing to promote their ideas doesn't disturb me in the least. People organizing by shared interests is completely prosaic.

No one can be exhaustive, but I keep an eye on both atheist blogs (mostly through Planet Atheism) as well as blogs that mention atheism. I've been seeing some atheist bloggers pushing back hard against Atheism+, and these bloggers seems to be associating Atheism+ with FreethoughBlogs (cf. Jeremy's recent post). As best I can tell, a lot of the hostility to FtB started when they expelled Thunderf00t for what the FtB organizers characterized as extreme assholiness. All of this hostility seems extraordinarily stupid; indeed, this post rose to the level of burning stupidity. The rest has not quite achieved burning stupidity, but it's stupid enough that it's not worth bothering rebutting in detail. The stupidity is high enough that it's impossible to decide if the critics of A+ and FtB are just incompetent or if they've intentionally abandoned intellectual good will. Either way, direct engagement is a waste of time.

I'm not here to defend FtB; Although I read some blogs that happen to be on FtB, I don't follow the group as a group, and I'm far too minor to ever be invited to join them. I'm not here to defend Atheism+; as I said, I don't identify specifically with any group; all the labels I self-identify with (atheist, communist, humanist) are descriptive, not inclusive. But there are some more abstract philosophical concepts in play, concepts I think I can shed some light on.

As noted above, that creating groups based on shared ideas, circumstances, interests, and value is the most numbingly prosaic human activities. It's so common that it's (part of) one of the four primary categories* of cultural anthropological descriptive theory, only one step above the economic foundation. When I see someone complaining, "Holy Shit! Those folks over there are forming a group! Something must be done!" my bullshit detector hits the red. Yes, and they also have jobs! They use money! They express political positions!! (In a democracy, no less!) Some of them even vote! Stop the presses! This must not stand! The thesis that it's wrong to form a group is entirely nonsensical.

*Economics, "Kinship" (Group Formation), Politics, Religion

Of course, we can have opinions and judgements, good and bad, about particular groups. I'm not a big fan, for example, of the Catholic church. I do not in any sense object that people with similar religious beliefs have organized themselves into a group; instead, I object to many of the specific beliefs and the actual ways the clergy manages and administers the church. I don't object that they share many religious beliefs; instead, I object to the coercive and fraudulent ways they maintain conformity of opinion. I do not object that they try to influence secular policy in democratic countries; I object to the specific policies they promote and the arguments they use to promote them. Criticizing how a group actually behaves is not criticizing that they exist as a group.

All of the polemics against FtB and Atheism+ seem to be outrage that they are a group, or baseless and evidence-free (or even false-to-fact) assertions that the group has behaved badly. I don't really want to examine these positions in detail, but I suppose I must.

Let's take Jeremy, whose recent post, Free Thought Bloggers: where they stand on Atheism+, impelled this article. That post is a completely pointless exercise demonstrating that the Earth orbits the Sun a few dozen people who have gotten together because they agree on certain points happen to agree on certain points. But Jeremy's objections to Atheism+ go back a little farther.

Jeremy starts off with On Atheism+ and humanism. The majority of this post has nothing to do with either humanism and Atheism+; Jeremy mostly criticizes Jen McCreight and her "boobquake" project; he then opines that sexism is not a particular problem within the atheist community. I think Jeremy is not only mistaken but obtuse, but whatever; that's just the give and take of differing opinions. About two thirds into the post, he gets into his objections to Atheism+. According to Jeremy, Atheism+ is objectionable because its members "expect all atheists to be good people." The founders of Atheism+ will not achieve equality by "by proclaiming that you have invented a new movement and requesting that these offensive atheists play nice." They "want a perfect society, or even a movement, free of offensive people," which is a delusional fantasy. I am completely unable to comprehend these charges. Jeremy offers no evidence whatsoever that for any of his charges, and they do not in any sense follow from the information he's presented in his article.

Jeremy then asserts that it's "too soon" to create a new movement and that it is insufficiently distinct from humanism. These arguments are so inherently specious, especially when Jeremy quotes McCreight as saying that Atheism+ is more than happy to ally with other groups with similar agendas, that the discerning reader is astonished at the stupidity. The right time to form a group is when a people what want a group like that think it's the right time; they distinguish themselves from other groups if they they think that other groups do not adequately address their interests. The people who are part of Atheism+ think it's the right time, and they think that humanism does not adequately address their interests: these are the only opinions that matter. What could Jeremy possibly do if he thinks their interests do not align with his own? It's a mystery.

Jeremy continues his critique in On Atheism+ and humanism: part 2. According to Jeremy, "Atheism+ is not only redundant" but also "actually corrosive to the legacies of atheists and freethinkers." Jeremy's argument, however, consists mostly of non sequiturs, with a few other logical fallacies and outright contradictions for variety. First, Jeremy asserts that New Atheism is not a movement. I happen to disagree, but even if he were right, so what? Jeremy completely fails to connect the status of New Atheism to Atheism+. Second, Jeremy asserts that any change to atheism and humanism is disrespectful to atheists and humanists past and present who fight and have fought for the very things that those who identify as Atheist+ claim to fight for. It is an admission that atheists and humanists have already lost. "atheism needs no improvements or additions to make it better, and attempts to do so actually blacken the legacy of atheists who did work and are working to make the world a better place because of their love of humanity." This argument is a complete non sequitur. What disservice does creating a new name or organization for those advancing some goals do to those who also advance and have advanced those goals? There are so many dimensions to group formation — goals, methods, focus, interests, audience, media, membership, environment, etc. — and significant change to even one dimension is sufficient reason to make a new group. Seeing a new group as a complete repudiation of everything everyone else does or has ever done in older groups goes beyond obtusity into the realm of complete stupidity.

Jeremy then blatantly contradicts himself. He first charges that Greta "Christina never quite gets around the explaining the clear difference between Atheism+." However, he quotes several clear distinctions. First, Jeremy quotes Christina saying that, presumably unlike Atheism+, "Humanism is . . . more engaged with creating secular replacements for the rituals and structures of religious communities." Furthermore, "[M]any humanists are actively hostile to the word 'atheist.' It’s not just that they don’t choose to use the word themselves. They don’t want anyone else to use it, either." Jeremy also quotes Christina objecting to the prevalence of soft sexism* among humanists; Atheism+, presumably, would exclude soft sexism. Jeremy does not object to the idea of soft sexism; instead he claims that Christina has made a hasty generalization, that soft sexism is aberrant within humanism: Christina is "relying on anecdotal evidence ('total douchebags about feminism') to describe what is wrong with the humanists she has met." Even if Jeremy disagrees with their importance and relevance, Christina does draw clear and definite distinctions. It is of course ironic, perhaps even self-parody, that Jeremy himself is an advocate of soft sexism — he does not consider feminism to be an especially important priority — the very distinction Christina draws between humanism and Atheism+.

*Soft sexism is the idea that feminism per se is unimportant, as opposed to hard sexism, the active disparagement, marginalization, and subordination of women.

Jeremy makes one argument that is not complete nonsense: he asserts, "If a humanist is not concerned and committed to stamping out hate, racism, bigotry, misogyny, anti-gay sentiment and other social ills, he or she is not a humanist. Plain and simple." Perhaps so. Still, humanism has institutional structures. If those structures are not adequately implementing Jeremy's definition, or if some group wants to implement these goals in different ways, it is a completely legitimate response to create a new group with new structures rather than trying to reform or replace the existing structures.

Finally, according to Jeremy, Atheism+
seems to suggest that this very small group of people (Free Thought Blogs and their supporters) are preparing to carry the banner of social justice for the rest of us, and for a group of people that inherently eschew cliques and in-groups and chafe at being told how they should think or act, this is contemptible.
Why should we think the proponents are doing anything for anyone but themselves? Why should we regard them as a "clique"? Most importantly, why should we think they are telling us how to think and act in some objectionable way? I have to add the last qualifier because everyone is always telling others how to think and act. Jeremy is telling us to think that sexism is not a problem in atheism and humanism; he is telling us not to form a new group and, presumably, to work within existing structures. The "clique" charge reveals Jeremy's fundamental Junior High attitude: your group sucks and you're meanies for not letting me in.

We have to draw a careful distinction here. It is one thing to argue that the views, opinions, ideas, interests, and positions of one group are mistaken or morally reprehensible. If Jeremy does not think sexism and misogyny are particular problems in the atheist community, it's certainly legitimate to argue those views. Even if he were mistaken or obtuse, it's important that we protect the right to be wrong. But to attack the existence of the group itself is to say that they must not argue what they see as their own interests. Jeremy does not want to argue any position. He objects to being criticized, and wants to shut down the criticism. Happily, he cannot do so; he can only appear increasingly petty and stupid.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Dictionary Atheism

An anonymous commenter brings up some issues that I want to address, perhaps obliquely, by a discourse on Dictionary Atheism.

Dictionary atheism has its uses: for one, it establishes atheism in the most broadest sense as a diverse group about whom it is difficult to draw generalizations. Thus, if you want to criticize specific atheist ideas, it's probably better to criticize the ideas directly, rather than using specific ideas to draw generalizations about "atheists."

I'm not going to address Myers' conceptions of Dictionary Atheism, but I will offer my own thoughts. As noted above, the idea that "atheism," in its broadest, most general sense, i.e. "Dictionary Atheism," has some merit. On the other hand, for many, perhaps most, atheists, myself included, atheism doesn't just float isolated in our minds; it really is part of a larger mental system. I believe that both individually and in general, atheists — especially skeptical atheists — are substantively different from religious people in systematic and characteristic ways that go far beyond the presence or absence of a single belief. As I said, generalizations are difficult to draw from such a diverse group, and all generalizations have exceptions, but this generalization does seem to have good evidentiary support.

I really don't have much evidence, other than my recollection of reading Myers' original article, of the actual position of so-called Dictionary Atheists; it's not a topic I'm particularly interested in. But I suspect that one difference is that Dictionary Atheists might imply that one cannot, by definition, draw any generalizations about atheists; any difference between atheists and theists cannot be associated specifically with atheism. How can one draw any conclusions at all just from the absence of one particular belief, especially when there are so many possible causes (or lack of causes) for that absence?

To a certain extent, that position has merit, especially as a counterargument to some of the stupider claims by theists: atheism entails materialism, reductionism, egotism, asociality, hedonism, etc., ad nauseam.

However, the contrary idea, that atheism is often systematically "hooked into" a broader conceptual framework, also has merit; the idea that atheism cannot possibly be systematically associated with any conceptual framework seems specious. And we see a lot of evidence that atheism really is systematically associated with skepticism, humanism, liberalism (in the modern, American, sense); the extension to feminism, gay rights, anti-racism, etc. seems to follow naturally, at least for a lot of atheists. I would not make the argument that these extensions follow directly from atheism, I would argue that for skeptical, humanistic atheists, these extensions follow directly from the same underlying source as one's atheism. It is inconsistent, I would argue, to say that one has good reasons for being an atheist, but not to apply those same reasons to issues that have nothing fundamental to do with the presence or absence of any gods.

Of course, there are exceptions. Some atheists, perhaps many, do not believe any god exists simply because they have accidentally not been exposed to the various conditions and circumstances that tend to inculcate religious belief. I do think that the idea of god is "artificial," it does not occur "naturally" in the same sense that belief in, for example, objective, external reality naturally occurs. And then there are atheists with a moral, ethical, and political foundation profoundly different from my own foundation of humanism and moral and political equality. I do not believe that anyone needs any particular moral foundation to realize the evidence abjectly fails to establish the existence of any supernatural deity or to understand the vacuity of conceptions of supernaturalism that are immune to empirical inquiry. Even a complete sociopath can be a legitimate, philosophically aware atheist.

But there's no fundamental problem with different underlying moral foundations among atheists. On the one hand, yes, broadly defined, everyone who lacks a belief in god, for whatever reason or no reason at all, really is an atheist. On the other hand, differing moral foundations acts as one of the most important bases for forming distinct interest groups. I can say to Libertarian or anti-feminist atheists, for example, that yes, they are legitimately atheists, but their fundamental philosophical basis for why they're atheists differs substantively from my own. Furthermore, I find their own underlying moral framework to be reprehensible, contemptible, and unworthy of close association.

I intentionally and consciously hold this explicitly divisive position. Moral divisiveness is a fact; to demand that we suppress our moral divisions would be just as delusional, just as dogmatic, as the worst of religious belief that atheists typically criticize.


The Infamous Brad, as usual, delivers the premium goods.

Christian SF Fans: This is Why I Don't Respect Your Butthurt:

I somewhat regret that Chicon 7 scheduled the panel "A Reversal of Minorities" (description: "Outside of fandom, Christianity is the majority religion, inside of fandom; it often feels like a persecuted minority. A look at why some people who would lambaste religious persecution in daily life feel it is okay to unload on Christianity within the confines of a convention") opposite the Hugo Awards. Had it not, I would have shown up, waited until they opened the panel to questions and comments from the room, waited my turn, and said, "Welcome to normal life for everybody else. Excuse me for not being sorry that this is one place in western world where you don't enjoy privilege." And then I would have set back down.
And he's just getting started. Read the rest.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

The Stupid! It Burns! (atheist religion edition)

the stupid! it burns! The Religion of Atheism
Some Atheists recoil at the claim that Atheism is a religion and consider the notion absurd. Many would consider Atheism the antithesis of religion. Maybe you’ve heard such remarks as, “If Atheism is a religion then bald is a hair color.”

It is a false analogy that asserts all religions are defined by a belief in a deity which we know is inaccurate because of such religions as Unitarian Universalists, Taoists or Buddhists.

Yet another religious believer point outs that atheism is a religion, like that was the worst possible thing someone could be. Another irony meter down the drain.

Still, if you take out god, superstition, xenophobia, misogyny, homophobia, privilege, authoritarianism, sadism, narrow-minded self-righteous bigotry, and egregious stupidity, and you want to call what's left "religion", then all right, you can call atheists "religious." It's a fair cop.

Tons more stupid in the article.